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School of Law

Annual Lecture of the Immigration Law LLM: Migration as Decolonization

5 November 2019

Time: 6:00 - 8:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Arts Two, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

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The Centre for European and International Legal Affairs (CEILA) and the School of Law are delighted to host the Annual Lecture of the Immigration Law LLM on 'Migration as Decolonization', with Professor E. Tendayi Achiume (UCLA School of Law), UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

Abstract

The prevailing doctrine of state sovereignty under international law today is that it entails the right to exclude non-nationals, with only limited exceptions. Whatever the scope of these exceptions, so-called economic migrants—those whose movement is motivated primarily by a desire for a better life—are typically beyond them. Migration as Decolonization looks to the history and legacy of the European colonial project to challenge this conception of state sovereignty and its relationship to the right to exclude so-called economic migrants. It argues for a different theory of sovereignty that makes clear why, in fact, economic migrants of a certain kind have compelling claims to national admission and inclusion in countries that today unethically insist on a right to exclude them. European colonialism entailed the emigration of tens of millions of Europeans and the flow of natural and human resources across the globe, for the benefit of Europe and Europeans. This Article details how global interconnection and political subordination initiated over the course of this history, generate a theory of sovereignty that obligates former colonial powers to open their borders to former colonial subjects. Insofar as certain forms of international migration today are responsive to political subordination rooted in colonial and neocolonial structures, a different conceptualization of such migration is necessary: one that treats economic migrants as political agents exercising equality rights when they engage in “decolonial” migration.

Speaker Bio

Tendayi Achiume is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, and Faculty Director of the UCLA Law Promise Institute for Human Rights. She is also a Research Associate with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand. The current focus of her work is the global governance of racism and xenophobia; and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration. In November 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Professor Achiume the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, making her the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1993. In 2016, she was appointed to co-chair the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), and she is currently the co-chair of the ASIL Migration Law Interest Group. Her publications include: “Migration as Decolonization,”Stanford Law Review71 Stanford Law Review 1509 (2019)(selected for the 2018 Harvard-Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum); "Governing Xenophobia," Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (forthcoming 2018); “Syria and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees,” 100 Minnesota Law Review 687, (2015); and “Beyond Prejudice: Structural Xenophobic Discrimination Against Refugees," 45(2) Georgetown Journal of International Law 323 (2014).

Directions

For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

Contact

For more information on this event, please email lawevents@qmul.ac.uk.

Photography, video and audio recording

School of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email lawevents@qmul.ac.uk in advance of the event that you are attending.